Collection of Short Stories

It is a small collection of short stories.

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2. Fall Down

The bells of St. Luke’s rang over the village green and the parish, with peels of rounds and Cambridge with a peel of call changes to finish. It was late evening and evensong was just forty-five minutes away at six thirty. It was a nice warm summer evening. The moon was full and a bit red with the warmth of the day. The Reverent Mary Dixon, a young vicar with dark rimmed glasses arrived listening to the individual sounds of each bell and its resonance in the tower and on the outside of St. Luke’s. She entered the vestry to her right. “They sound good tonight,” she said to the other four people inside. The curate nodded acknowledging the incumbent. “Yes,” said the server Ruth. Up the sixty five- stone spiral staircase the ringers set to start another set of rounds, with each bell being rung in sequence in the bell chamber. David Rose was late, the 46 bus he was on got stuck in traffic, which was very unusual for a Sunday evening. He hadn’t been to St. Luke’s before as a friend had invited him to the tower. Which was his 200th as every ringer kept track of every tower visited. The tall octagonal tower came into sight. The bells were already ringing once more. “Ah,” he said to himself as a bell sequences entered his mind. “Plain hunt… Surprise major …” “They’re good,” he thought. He gasped at the front entrance of the church. “The bell ringers’?” he asked one of the parishioners. The old white haired deputy churchwarden smiled and pointed to the small wooden door to his left. David said thank you and started to climb the narrow stone spiral staircase. Passing the almost finished schoolroom for St. Luke’s bell ringers. He pushed open the bell chamber door. The ringers stood in a circle with the ten ropes that held the ten individual bells just above them on the next floor. Each rope had a Sally, a long piece of fur like material over the rope that had a red, white then blue spiral that spiralled up the sally. Followed by a long piece of plain rope that lead to the floor called the tie-up from the bottom of the sally part. David had been doing bell ringing for years, but still hadn’t found out why the furry thing was called ‘a sally.’ He assumed it must be named after someone called sally and it stuck. Cathy, David’s friend got up from her chair and hugged him. “This is David,” she said. “David,” said Richard the Ringmaster and both shook hands. “What can you do?” asked the master. “Plain Bob,” came the reply. The other ringers’ moved around and made a rope available so he could ring. David took hold of the rope. He made a loop with his left hand with a bit of rope hanging over his left hand and facing down, while holding the sally too. With his right hand above his left hand and on the sally, so both hands held the sally ready for the pull of energy to make the bell become balanced for the back-stroke to come. When the sally reached the small hole above him and the whole rope became completely straight.  At which he would pull down reaching the balance once more and bringing the sally bobbing in front of him so he could catch it once more with both hands and called the hand-stroke. He had to do this each time and if ringing rounds following the bell to his right and in sequence. When he first did it. It was terrifying as the whole rope shot up into the air, with a jolt on his arms as he connected to the whole weight of the bell above. He remembered bringing a bell up for the first time. That was just as terrifying. David started his ‘Plain Bob’ and listening to the special sequence that the bells made. After five minutes he sat down with his friend Catherine. “Six fifteen,” he read from the clock in the corner. Suddenly. “Rounds, please,” said Richard. “David,” he said. “Take the treble and lead.” David nodded and took the rope. Leading meant he was the first to ring followed by the other six ringers. It even had a special language. “Look too,” said David. Making all the ringers’ prepare to pull. “Treble’s going,” he continued as he began his pull. “She’s gone,” he finished as he started his back-stroke. David looked around him at the other ringers’. Some were young and some were older than himself. But one ringer made him look slightly longer than the other’s. He looked very old and a bit greyer than usual, and looking a lot thinner too. “Stand!” came the command, followed by everyone stopping each bell in turn and tying up each rope as they finished, so the next ringer could start again. David sat down and let out a gasp of air, it was quite exhausting pulling a large bell. “Who’s that,” David asked nodding to the grey man sitting down across the room. “Oh,” said Catherine. “That’s Tom our resident ghost,” she said, calmly. David looked aghast. Tom sat on his chair and listened to the children outside. “Ring-a-ring-a-roses, a pocket full of poses, a-tish-you, a-tish-you, we all fall down!” The 46 bus lay totally burnt out on its right side with the petrol tanker still in flames. The End.

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